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Guinea Electoral Commission Meets with Donors


Guinea's electoral commission and international donors are discussing plans to organize elections in six months. The vote is part of a regionally-backed transitional authority meant to end more than one year of military rule.

Guinea's National Independent Electoral Commission and international donors are meeting for the first time since regional mediator Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore reached the interim government deal with Guinea's military leaders.

The talks are expected to focus on a timetable for voter and candidate registration as well as a preliminary budget for the cost of holding elections within six months.

Jean-Marie Dore will be the country's new interim prime minister. He says keeping to that schedule presents considerable challenges for one of the world's poorest countries.

Jean-Marie Dore speaks to journalists in Dakar (File)

Jean-Marie Dore speaks to journalists in Dakar (File)

Mr. Dore says the transition could be one month or it could be three years, depending on what has already been done with voter registration. While he says the transitional government will work to meet the six-month deadline, everything does not depend on the government.

Mr. Dore says the success of the election will depend on its organization. And if there is not enough money to organize it properly, he says Guinea will continue to struggle.

The U.N. Secretary Generals' special representative for West Africa Said Djinnit says the six-month timetable can be met, but only if things are done quickly with proper support.

"This is a window of opportunity that should be seized by national stake-holders but also by international stake-holders to ensure that this time around we can help the country exit from the crisis and return to constitutional order," he said.

Guinea has been under military rule since a December 2008 coup that brought to power Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. He was shot last month by the former head of the presidential guard who says Captain Camara was trying to blame him for the killing of at least 157 opposition protesters in September.

While Captain Camara continues to recover from those wounds in Burkina Faso, Defense Minister Sekouba Konate is Guinea's acting military ruler. He and the interim prime minister will oversee the 101-member transitional authority.

Djinnit met with General Konate and Mr. Dore before the electoral commission meeting.

"I believe that all are keen to go through the shortest transition possible that will allow for preparing for the election as soon as possible, but also giving some time for some socio-economic support because I think it is very important that before the people of Guinea go to elections that the people could see the dividends of reconciliation in terms of resuming support by the international community, by the international financial institutions, and the key bilateral partners of Guinea to make sure that all efforts will converge towards making this opportunity a reality and returning quickly to democratic rule," he said.

Djinnit was joined in Conakry by the head of the Economic Community of West African States Commission, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and by African Union representative Ibrahim Fall.

Djinnit says the international community understands that Guinea will need strong support to meet its goal of having elections in June.

German Ambassador Karl Prinz told Guinea's state television that the European Union is prepared to resume cooperation with the new government, will support the presidential elections, and will contribute to reforming the country's military.

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